Wow is all I have to say about sweet grandchildren! Ferynne is an absolute doll, but then we all knew that she would be, look at her Mom and Dad.
God is the best! I am still in shock at how He brought about my meeting with my Granddaughter. I am so thankful that He cares about the little things. Even during our stay in Italy He made all the connections that really mattered. But let me tell you that 10 hours on a plane is a long time! I am so sorry, Melanie that you had to do that being so pregnant! at least it was only once and not twice in two weeks. Debbie, when you get to go just have a lot of reading material or be ready to watch a lot of movies ha ha!
I am not sure where to start. Melanie, Derek, and Ferynne met us at the airport. It was a sweet surprise. I had hoped, but wasn't holding my breath. So I got to hold her right away and all the way back to the base. It is about an hour from the airport, not bad considering it could have been much worse. We walked (Derek, Craig, and I)all the way to the end of the base to get our temporary I.D.'s, then to the commissary, then to the shuttle to get back to their home at Villagio. It was a wonderful evening of catching up and chillin out. I just love being a grandma! Their house reminds me of our apartment in West Linn. The layout is pretty much the same except for the laundry room is on the opposite side. and we only had two bedrooms upstairs, and not a maids room. It was almost like being at home a long time ago. We went back to base on Friday to get our permanent temporary I.D.'s so we could be on base without Derek having to always be with us. And did some shopping and exchanging of dollars to euro's, then went back home and did some more loving on the granddaughter (she is soooo cute!)
Saturday we went in to Vicenza to see the hometown of Palladio. Then Craig and I took the train into Verona for the rest of the afternoon and saw the last standing Roman arena that is still in use, they even had a concert that evening. We also saw Juliette's balcony and no, we didn't take our picture with our hand on her breast. It was a beautiful courtyard and fun to pretend that it really did happen and that there really was a Romeo and Juliette. Verona was our first taste of crowded Italy. The different squares are so beautiful all of the architecture is amazing. Then we had our first try at the city bus all by ourselves and then making sure we pushed the button before our stop came quickly up, it was all very exhilerating. I had never used public transportation before! Sunday was a down day and we all enjoyed being together.
Monday, Craig took me away from my sweet granddaughter for the first time since getting there for two whole nights! He is lucky He took me to the Cinque Terre! Oh My Goodness, words cannot describe the beauty and the true Italianess of this area. The Italian Riviera is truly and amazing place. We Stayed in Vernazza which is the smallest of the five towns and it is truly postcardable! We got in late needless to say. after a full day of traveling and could not find a room to save our souls. We were still in awe of the beauty even at night so it did not totally sink in for a while that we might be sleeping on the beach or in the train station, but when it finally did, we had one last option. Climb the hundred stairs to the castle restaurant at the end of town on the break point and see if anyone there knew anyone who might have a room to rent for the night or just give up. (We had already asked around every other restaurant and store that was open) So we decided to go ahead and give it one last try, and as we ascended the last step a waiter caught us out of the corner of his eye and seeing our raggedness and probably figuring since we were not excactly dressed for dinner the only other reason we could possibly be there was to ask if anyone knew of anyone who had a room to rent. Alas, he asked us if we needed a room, and we of course said "si". Giving us our first glimmer of hope, do we dare hope?, he said "come with me". We went with him. He led us into the castle to a room next to the kitchen where he introduced us to MiKayla. He told her of our plight and she looked at us and said that she already turned away a party of four. Then she must have seen the despair in my eyes for the next thing I knew, she asked us if it was just the two of us, we said "si". She said she would call a friend after she finished the desert that she was working on and gave us another glimmer of hope. We waited while she finished the desert, it was a beautiful platter of fresh fruit, cakes and fresh flowers. Craig and I admired the inside of the restaurant. It was fairly empty as most customers were out on the patio overlooking the Ligerean Sea. We couldn't decide if we would rather eat inside or outside (I mean, it would be so cool to eat in a castle, wouldn't it?) So MiKayla finished the desert and took it to the customers and came back in and called her friend. With one look, I knew. God had heard and answered our prayers, she had a room for us! all we had to do now was figure out our instructions on how to get there. Now lets see, go back to the main square go toward the train station take a left at the Farmacia and go up the stairs. Find #54 and she will be there. What she didn't tell us was that there was a maze of stairs and walkways after the Farmacia. Oh, and what was her name? Maria right? o.k., here is #54 but there is a man answering the door. After getting out that we are looking for Maria who has a room for us he says to wait, so wait on the steps we did, half joking half serious that there is no Maria and they were all getting a big laugh out of us. But after a while we hear footsteps and lo and behold Maria comes out of the darkness and into our light. She gets the key and takes us down, down, down to #24. yipee less steps to go up and down tomorrow! Alas, we can only have the room for one night. We use the medium key for the outside door, the big key for the door on the left at the end of the hall, and the little key for the door to our room, directly inside the last door. Then we enter! Our heavenly wonderful, 6x8ish room. It was the best room I had ever seen! seriously though it was spotless, very clean. Now the moment of truth. How much? 60 euro's I could not believe it, I seriously thought they were going to rake us over the coals and then some, knowing how desperate we were, but no! God is good! I quickly gave her the money then Craig and I sank into the best slumber ever! until BONG, BONG, BONG,BONG,BONG, BONG, BONG, seven o'clock already? that was probably the fastest night ever. We spent the early morning securing another room so we didn't have another repeat of last night, then went on our merry little way hiking and exploring the Cinque Terre. It was an amazing day! Wednesday brought our travel day back to my sweetness and children. We trained it to Pisa, it was pouring cats and dogs, until we got to the Field of Miracles, and then voila, God told it to stop and stop it did! Once we got inside the entrance, wow, wow, wow! amazing! the buildings that are there along with the tower are spectacular. The artwork and the craftsmanship that it took to make these building is truly awe inspiring, and the tower, wow! it really is leaning, even more than you would think a building could lean and still be standing! After we left Pisa we trained it to Florence, again, WOW! The Duomo and surrounding buildings were just as spectacular if not more than the previous ones we saw in Pisa. We thought to go check out the line to see Michelangelo's David (after all doesn't every one want to see the perfection of manliness?) and since we were not so lucky with the rain in Florence as we were in Pisa we thought the line might not be so long, not. It was amazing how long the lines were even in the rain. (to be honest, I am kind of glad, no offense Micheal, but I would rather see my perfection of a granddaughter and go home to Melanie and Derek)so back to Melanie and Derek's we went. We trained it back to vicenza, bussed it back to villagio and walked it back to their house. A full day of travel and sightseeing and we unfortunately got back too late to see them for they had turned in for the day as queen Ferynne demanded. lol!
Thursday was a day of rest and a day without Derek as we soon learned that he was to be put on 24hr duty (I am sorry Derek. So we made plans without him to leave Friday morning(meet him at the base as soon as he gets off duty, again, sorry Derek)Then train it to Bolzano and Bus it to Castelrotto for two nights. Oh well, your young, right Derek? Ferynne did absolutely awesome on the traveling end. And Castelrotto, what can I say but WOW! When they tell you this part of Italy has an identity crisis, believe them, they are right. It really felt like we were in Austria or Germany (not that I personally would know what that feels like). It was a beautiful Bavarian village with a beautiful view of the alps (as we were basically right there). Our hotel was about 650 years old and so way cool! It was right next to you guessed it, the bell tower, and boy do they like their bells! I didn't mind them, it was all part of the ambiance. Right away we found a bakery and got pretzels woo hoo! oh, but yes, they still have their gellato shop because after all, they are still Italy, right? Their grocery store I wanted to transplant to Turner, I loved it, it was small and quaint and perfect for a small village, They had two other supermarkets, but I didn't go in them. They didn't seem to have the charm of the one by the hotel.
Saturday we took the bus back to Suis where the Lift to Compache was. It was soo cool, we were on our way to Europe's largest Alpine meadow, yes that is what I said, Alpine. We were in the Alps, I have always wanted to be there! Now I am in such a dilema. What do I like better, the sea or the mountains? I can not decide!!!!! It was soooo beautiful, especially because the weather was so iffy that the clouds actually made it more awesome to look at. It did not start to rain until we were in the lift on our way down the mountain and then it stopped raining by the time we were back at the hotel so we could do some more exploring after the baby was fed and changed. We found the shop that caters to the fans of Kastelruther Spatzen. A famous yodeling group that hails from Castelrotto. They have everything and anything with a picture of this group on it. From calendars to gummy snacks to key chains, you name it they have it and it has Kastelruther Spatzen splattered all over it! Sunday was our day to go back home and of course my grocery store and most other stores in town were closed so say la ve, I will probably never see you again my store of dreams! It was a long way home, I think we were all tired and ready to just be home.
Monday came and Derek went to work, Craig and I took the day and went to Venice as we had not been yet and it would be sad to have landed in Venice and not actually see it, and Melanie and Ferynne, well they got to be home and chillin for the first time alone for the day(I really wanted to stay with them, but Venice was calling and I knew I should probably go). We caught the airport shuttle from the base and then a bus from the airport to the island. We decided against a map as we had not had much luck in the past and I am actually glad. We just wandered around and followed the signs on the buildings to St. Mark's square. We had a wonderful time and found most of our gifts for the kids there. When we got to the square we were once again rewarded with amazing architecture and craftsmanship. Totally awe inspiring. It is amazing to be in a country so much older than ours and see what a civilization can leave behind. It also makes me wonder what we will leave behind, if anything, here in America. Well, things had gone too smoothly the rest of our trip so I guess we needed our glitch. We actually got lost on the way back to the bus and ended up over by the prison,yes, Venice has a prison! We missed the bus by about five minutes, which put us about 3 hours later getting back than we wanted so, instead of being back by 2:00 it was closer to 5:00. We did beat Derek back though.
So it was finally here, the dreaded last night. It all went so fast, and I didn't have enough time with my girls! but, my little guy was calling and my heart was going out to him, I did miss him terribly.(It stinks to be torn, Mom, Chris, I now know exactly how you feel and I totally relate and yes, it does stink! Why can't we all just live next to each other?!) So we did laundry and had to dry our clothes in the infamous dryer (I sure hope you guys call on that thing and get it replaced, it truly is possesed!!!!!!) We even tried to secure a taxi so we wouldn't have to walk the infamous labor walk at 3:30 in the morning with suitcases none the less. They said to just call 10 minutes before we needed them even at 3:00 in the morning, so we took their word for it and packed then went to bed saying our goodbyes then because who wants to get up at 3:00 in the morning right? we sure didn't. So we call the taxi when we are ready to leave as it takes about 10 minutes to get to the gate of Villagio from their house. Craig gets a recording and we leave the address hoping everything works out and out we head with our suitcases making about as much noise as they can on the street at 3:20 in the morning--Sorry people! We get to the gate and wait and wait and wait I know it was only about 5 minutes but we had many things whirling through our heads like if we miss that 4:15 bus to the airport we are not going to get home to Jadeon! Yikes! We take the plunge, we start walking. Only we decide to brave the busy dangerous overpass, after all, how many cars are whipping by at 3:40 in the morning right? well as it turns out there were two, but we didn't pass any at the really dangerous parts thank goodness and then the long haul to the base (I hope the suitcase wheels last--sorry mom). We made it to the base and past security and to the stop by 4:00. A little (lot) sweaty but other than that, no worse for the wear (except the blister that is starting on my heal). We made it, but where was the bus? we were a little paranoid to say the least, oh good, hear it comes. The rest of the way home is pretty much a lot of waiting and luckily we didn't have to make a connection other than my mom and aunt Deanna in Seattle because they were about 45 minutes late taking off from Frankfurt. We had gotten boarded, but had to wait for a missing passenger, then a seat in Business class would not go upright so we had to wait for the repair crew to come and fix it, then we had to wait for a plane behind us, then we had to wait for two more planes that were landing in the runway we needed to take off on! basically it turned a 10 hour flight into and 11 hour flight oh well, what is another hour right? The point is we made it to Seattle (Portland would have been much better) and let me tell you, it is much easier to get into Germany and Italy than it is to get into the U.S. After getting our bags, which I think were the last ones off the plane, and getting through the last checkpoint, it was sure good to see mom and Deanna! Just four more hours and then I could see my sweet Jadeon! We got home a little before seven and were in bed by 8:45ish (from being up at 6:00 the night before--Oregon time, to bed almost 27 hours later) Whew, what a trip! I will never, never, never forget! Thank you God for your generous blessings!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Posted by nina at 3:38 PM